VALENCIA (CBSLA) — Gov. Gavin Newsom Friday celebrated the opening of a new high-tech COVID-19 testing lab in Valencia designed to increase the state’s coronavirus testing capacity and reducing the time it takes to get results.
The $25 million lab, announced in August as part of a deal with scientific diagnostics firm PerkinElmer, will ultimately be able to process 150,000 tests per day when it reaches full capacity in March — employing 700.
Newsom said the 134,000-square-foot lab would also dramatically drive down the costs of testing. He said the state is currently paying an average of $150 per COVID-19 test, and as of Thursday, the state had conducted more than 18.4 million tests.
“We can’t continue down that path,” he said. “It makes no economic or fiscal sense. That’s why we want to disrupt the entire process and the entire system. And that’s exactly what we’re doing here in a very audacious and bold way in California. We’re going to be able to get these tests down to $30.78 per test. … That’s when we’re fully operational at 150,000 tests.”
Newsom said the state was not getting the necessary resources and had to take matters into its own hands. The lab will also increase the states’ COVID-19 testing capacity at a time when the state is experiencing a surge in cases and flu season approaches.
He said the lab was opening at “exactly the right time, when more pressure is being placed because of the increase we’re experiencing around the nation in our case rate and increase … (in) our positivity rate and the need and desire to test, to trace to isolate and ultimately get us to where we need to go, and that’s with a vaccine.”
Newsom, who took a COVID-19 test at the facility, said increased testing was critical to virus’ spread.
“We’ve got to box this disease in,” Newsom said. “More testing is foundational, but what you do after the tests is the real test of the leadership we need to see at the local, regional, state and federal level. And that is tracing and making sure we’re isolating and quarantining individuals so they can recover and we can mitigate the spread for asymptomatic, pre-symptomatic individuals, or those that are experiencing symptoms. Timely testing is foundational in terms of advancing those goals.”
While in SoCal, Newsom also visited the Dodger Stadium super vote center, just one of L.A. County’s super vote centers that will be open through Election Day, to encourage people to cast their ballots in the Nov. 3 election.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)